orzo, mint and sundried tomato salad: a fresh lunch idea

Here for the orzo, mint and sundried tomato salad? Then you’ve got exceptional taste, and you must be rewarded. If you’re in a hurry, scroll quickly to the video and watch the recipe, or read the words explaining how to make our delicious orzo, mint and sundried tomato salad. If you need a good light lunch, this is the one you’ll need. But first…

Paul has done some foolish things in his short time on the Earth. For example, he once pooed on the tracks of the East Coast Main Line just to see what would happen when a train went over it at full-clip. That also explains why we’re banned from Durham train station. Ay-oooo, I’ll be here all night, try the veal.

However, he’s excelled himself now. He’s signed us up to run a 5K at the end of the month to raise money for The Albert Kennedy Trust. I ought to explain: I get out of breath driving 5k, and that’s including a break to ogle/fellate the lorry drivers at Washington Services. The thought of running it makes my heart race all of its own, but that’s me and my hilarious tachycardia all over. I’ve been reassured that we will be fine and that actually, there is an air ambulance station only five minutes away from the run location. So I mean, that’s great: my lips might turn the colour of old liver and my brain will likely be starved of oxygen as all my blood pools in my cheap, not-suitable-for-running trainers, but hey, I get a ride in a helicopter.

Actually, that really IS a dealbreaker, I’ve always wanted to leap from a helicopter like Anneka Rice in Treasure Hunt. We’ll get Mags in as Wincey Willis, standing in front of a cardboard map pinning arrows of my location on with gay abandon, though we’d need to ask her to tone down her hairspray cloud to Bhopal levels lest Paul took an asthma attack.

Readers born in the late nineties might not get that reference. Ah well. I don’t understand how to use hashtags properly or why everyone is insistent on putting dog ears on their photos, so we’ll call it even. Seriously folks, why do you do that? Do you want conversation, or taken outside for a shite?

Anyway, I jest, of course. This fitness burst is actually a culmination of our efforts from New Year to increase our activity levels. I was tired of getting out of breath putting on my shoes. Paul was literally tired – he could barely sleep for fretting that I was going to choke on a landslide of my own neck-fat. I didn’t do much snore as drown through the night. So, naturally, we decided the sensible approach would be to go straight into a bootcamp (which wrecked us, but in a good way) and gym membership, and now here we are able to run for a mile without being blue-lighted into hospital and/or asked to leave because the resonance of our thighs slapping together is putting the structural integrity of the building at risk.

That mile thing is, well, a proper milestone – for months I’ve been telling myself that there’s simply no way I could run for that long without dying until, on Saturday, I told myself to give it a go. Armed with the reassurance that I had the emergency-stop clip attached to the waistband of my shorts (I think I managed to clip about half of my neatly-trimmed pubic hair too, just to add an extra frisson of excitement to possible failure) and a hurly-burly chap to my immediate right to give me mouth to mouth should I need it, away I went. And do you know, I did it without any drama, fanfare or worry – just plodded on through! So there’s hope yet.

Speaking of hope, that’s what we’re running the 5K for. The Albert Kennedy Trust provide support, help and sometimes accommodation for LGBT folks who are experiencing difficulties, especially those who have just come out and are facing adversity from their parents or guardians. I’ve told you the story of my ex who came out to his parents only to have his kind, patient, God-loving dad put a screwdriver to his throat and lock him away in the house until my mother went all Andy McNab (Mandy McTab, surely) and kidnapped him? Yeah: they help with folks in that sort of situation, and much worse. You can’t help your sexuality any more than you can change your eye-colour or the clip of your bumhole: why then should you live in fear over something you have no control over? Hmm?

If you would like to sponsor our run, then by all means do – look, I even made a dapper wee banner for you to click on (it’ll open in a new window) and anything at all would be absolutely amazing. But listen, if you’re sitting there on the bones of your arse with nothing but shrapnel and dreams in your purse, don’t fret for a second. We’re not shaking you down here: if you can and you want to, by all means donate and we’ll be delighted, but we won’t think anything less of anyone for not donating! There’s a million charities out there all equally as important to someone, I’m sure. Click to donate! One final thing: don’t worry, we’re not going to become jogging-wankers. I still think running is bloody awful. Why use your own locomotion when Uber is only a strained conversation away? We certainly won’t be doing fun-runs and sprinting along the town moor with that permanent ‘I’m about to cum through my own self-worth’ face on. And no to any sort of lycra, though that’s more for your benefit than mine: I look like a Shar Pei dog snuffling for truffles in a bin-liner when I wear any sort of figure-hugging outfit. No, that just won’t do.

Now that’s quite enough waffling on. I apologise that the drought of posts continues, but so does the drought of free-time we’re currently experiencing, so just bear with us. Today’s recipe for orzo, mint and tomato salad was borne from the need for a quick lunch to answer all the ‘what can I have for lunch’ posts we keep getting. This takes no time at all to make, uses only a few ingredients and keeps well in the fridge. To make up for the lack of recipes, we’ve done a video recipe for you – we’d love some feedback!

Let’s do the proper recipe now: orzo, mint and sundried tomato salad, just for you.
orzo, mint and sundried tomato salad

orzo, mint and sundried tomato salad

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orzo, mint and sundried tomato salad

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

Looking for a lunch that you can keep in the fridge and it'll only get better? Then something like this orzo, mint and sundried tomato salad will hit the spot! Orzo is a type of pasta you can buy in most supermarkets - cheap, tasty and carries a sauce well.

Don't be tempted to use Quark: you're so much better than that. 

And yes, you could use cherry tomatoes and make this syn-free, but proper sun-dried tomatoes are tastier and will bring your dish up a treat! Give it a go!

Ingredients

  • 350g orzo
  • 25g chopped mint
  • 110g Philadelphia Lightest (one 1 x HEA)
  • 100g chopped sundried tomatoes (6 syns)
  • 150g spinach
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  • boil your orzo for about eight minutes until soft
  • drain the orzo, keeping aside 100ml of the cooking water
  • pop the orzo back in the pan, pop the water back in and put it on a very low heat
  • add the mint, sundried tomatoes, spinach and cream cheese together with a pinch of salt and pepper and allow the cheese to soften down and the spinach to wilt
  • stir and serve!

Notes

  • this makes enough for four decent sized portions and keeps well in the fridge
  • add peas, peppers, onion, anything you like - but we like to keep it simple
  • looking for a lunchbox - you can find us on xtube, or buy your own for your dinner right here - nice and cheap, on both counts

Courses lunch

Cuisine salad

Looking for more salad ideas, you healthy bugger? Fine:

And, loads more in our salad section!

Enjoy!

J

chicken and chorizo jambalaya: a perfect easy dinner!

Chicken and chorizo jambalaya: because you need an easy chicken recipe, and we need an easy life. So, not only have we found you possibly the easiest chicken recipe we’ve ever done, we’ve even done you a video!

Our extended personal break continues (sorry!) but we need to do a bit of admin around our Musclefood deals which I know a lot of you enjoy. Please, forgive our advert, it’s very rare we post a big one. You can jump straight to the recipe by clicking here!

We get a lot of feedback with people mentioning that it’s a faff on having lots of different deals all over the place and that they want just ‘pure’ meat, as opposed to flavourings and rubs and meatballs and sausages. So, with that in mind, we’ve revamped our Musclefood offering so that you can buy different sizes of our popular Freezer Filler deal – all three sizes will save you money on buying it in the supermarket and of course, it’s all syn-free. Up to you how you cook it!

So here it is: the ULTIMATE FREEZER FILLER SELECTION! There’s three packs here for you to choose from so there’s something for every budget. If you haven’t ordered from us before then what are you waiting for?! You’ll save a fortune compared to getting the same amount of stuff at the supermarkets, and not only are you getting a bargain but it all tastes nicer too. The chicken breasts are HUGE and won’t shrivel when you cook them, the beef isn’t like chewing on a dry tampon and the mince isn’t mushy! Seriously, give it a try – we promise you won’t look back! Everything in these packs are syn free!

You’ll save a fortune ordering from us compared to getting the same amount of stuff at the supermarkets and the bigger the pack, the more you save. Fill up your freezer and it’ll last you for ages!chicken and chorizo jambalaya

Full disclosure: we get a small commission for the meat we sell – it doesn’t change the price you pay, but helps keep us in the gin, buttplugs and fancy living lifestyle we’ve grown accustomed to.

Now for a sneak inside my box – here’s what you get in our deals. We did try and get Musclefood to call the boxes ‘mouse’s ear, wizard’s sleeve and hippo’s yawn‘ but apparently, that’s too off-brand:

SAVERS SELECTION: £30

  • 10-12 (approx 200g each) chicken breast fillets, 2 packs of 400g extra lean steak mince, 10 rashers of low fat bacon medallions, 2 packs of 400g extra lean free range diced beef

FAVOURITES SELECTION: £50

  • 20-24 chicken breast fillets (approx 200g each), 5 packs of 400g extra lean steak mince, 10 rashers of low fat bacon medallion, 2 packs of 400g extra lean free range diced beef and free delivery

GO LARGE SECTION: £65

  • 20-24 chicken breast fillets, 6 packs of 400g Extra Lean Steak Mince, 30 rashers of low fat bacon medallions, 5 packs of 400g extra lean free range diced beef and free delivery

RIGHT, shall we do the recipe then?

In a rush: here’s the video

chicken and chorizo jambalaya

chicken and chorizo jambalaya

super easy chicken and chorizo jambalaya

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

This super easy chicken and chorizo jambalaya is a one-pot, quick cooking marvel: it tastes good, it's low in syns and if you're shite in the kitchen, you'll be able to knock this together without breaking a sweat. It's an all round good guy!

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 200g frozen peas
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Morrison's No Fuss garlic paste (1 syn) (or mince your own garlic, you fancy sod)
  • 100g chorizo, diced (12 syns)
  • 1 tbsp cajun seasoning
  • 250g long grain rice
  • 400g tin of plum tomatoes
  • 400ml chicken stock

Instructions

  • if you haven't already, dice and chop up everything that you need to and set aside
  • spray a large pan with oil and pop over a medium-high heat
  • add the chicken and cook until no pink remains
  • next, add everything else and give a good stir - give the tomatoes a bit of a squash with the edge of the spoon so they break up a little bit and spread out
  • add the lid to the pan and simmer for 25 minutes
  • serve

Notes

  • we used garlic paste for this because we ran out of proper garlic - if you're using garlic cloves you can knock a syn off
  • remember, you get a huge amount of chicken in our Musclefood deals!
  • Fry Light WILL ruin those nice pans of yours - get one of these instead!
  • don't be afraid to use chorizo - the number of syns might give you palpitations but it's worth it - and spread out over 4 servings it's only 3 each. Syns are there to be used!
  • no need to rinse the rice for this - just lob it in dry
  • you'll need a good shallow casserole dish - we bought ours from Marks and Spencers, but you can find a good range on Amazon
  • you'll find cajun seasoning with the spices in all the supermarkets - but others will work too (fajita, jerk, Piri Piri, etc)

Courses dinner

Enjoy that one-pot delight? As well you should, and here’s a few more:

Yum!

J

(we’ll be back soon!)

sausage and white wine risotto: low syn and gorgeous

Sausage and white wine risotto, if you don’t mind!

We’ve come to the end of our second bootcamp and can’t quite believe it. For two lads whose idea of exercise was a casual Sunday wank or rolling over in bed so our sleep apnea doesn’t suffocate us, I’d say we’ve done really rather well! I’ll talk about it more in due course but honestly, if you’re out there thinking you can’t exercise, get yourself moving! I mean…I haven’t died, yet…

Just a quick recipe tonight to keep you going – but this is delicious! You may know our approach to risottos – just chuck everything in and leave it to cook itself. Might not be 100% authentic but by god, it’ll leave you satisfied. Without further delay…

Oh one thing: if you’re still after a Halo fryer, they are now the absolute lowest they’ve ever been – get it ordered!

This serves four! Oh and it’s actually 1.25 syn per serving, but I can’t be arsed to be that anal. It’s been a long day!

sausage and white wine risotto

sausage and white wine risotto

2 votes

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sausage and white wine risotto

Prep

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Total

Yield 4 big bowls

Sausages, booze, and stodge. This sausage and white wine risotto is THE perfect dinner idea that you've been waiting for! Robust, meaty and just a little bit fruity - just like us. Even though it's full of rich ingredients this is just one syn and a bit each and one of the tastiest things we've ever made!

We've adapted this and made it a bit skinnier from our 'spirit daddies', The Hairy Bikers. Their original recipe is in the brilliant 'Meat Feasts' book - you can get a copy at Amazon! Don't forget to check out their website for more tasty ideas. 

Ingredients

  • 4-6 sausages (see notes)
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 300g arborio rice
  • 125ml white wine  (5 syns)
  • 60g parmesan, grated (2x HeA)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley

Instructions

  • cook the sausages however you like them, and then slice and keep to one side
  • meanwhile, heat a large pan over a medium-high heat and spray in some oil
  • add the sliced onions and cook until starting to turn brown - remember to stir them about regularly
  • once the onions have started to lightly caramelise, reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, herbs and rice and stir well
  • add the wine and give a good stir, and then pour in the stock and stir again, and then put the lid on the pan
  • cook for twenty minutes - no need to stir!
  • gently drag a wooden spoon through the rice - if it falls back in 'waves' it's at the right consistency - cook for a few minutes more if it's not
  • stir in the sausages slices and sprinkle over the parmesan
  • serve and sprinkle over the parsley

Notes

  • you can cook the sausages however you like - we used our Optigrill - but however you like it will do, just make sure they're cooked!
  • you can use any sausages you like - including veggie ones if you want - but just remember to check the syns! We used Muscle Food Low Fat pork sausages which are syn free
  • you can use a sprig of rosemary and thyme instead of the dried stuff if you prefer, just remember to fish them out before serving
  • use any wine you like but remember that different types have different syn values so remember to check. We used normal 12.5% stuff.
  • slice the onions in double-quick time with a mandoline - just watch your fingers if you're a clumsy twat
  • a good, heavy lidded pan works best - this is what we use

Courses Dinner

Cuisine Italian

Looking good right? Want some more risotto ideas? We’ve got loads – why not try one of the following?

Enjoy!

J

full english breakfast risotto: a perfect bit of stodge

Full English breakfast risotto – not a breakfast recipe, no, but rather a delicious risotto with all the lovely bits of a full English breakfast! Yes it’s indulgent, yes it’ll probably give you blue lips, but it’s so, so good: plus as with all our risottos, it pretty much cooks itself – no clarting about with adding ladles of stock! This is a rollover recipe – you can use the leftover sausages and bacon from yesterday’s recipe of super scrambled eggs to make into this beauty! I mean, I don’t recommend you have them both on the same day, but there’s nothing stopping you cooking off all the sausages and bacon and leaving half aside to make this.

Not a fan of congealed blood and fat and oats? Please: call yourself a blubber-merchant? Feel free to leave it out. If you do, it’s syn free. Top tip for this: once you’ve finished serving it up in that effortlessly stylish way of ours, pop the yolk so it runs through the risotto, mash the tomatoes in and crumble over that black pudding. It’s so, so good!

No chitter-chat tonight as we’re off to the gym. I know: who have we become? But after yesterday’s diatribe I need to stop bumping my lips for a bit.

This serves four, by the way – normal portions. If you’re a greedy sod like me, two massive bowls.

full english breakfast risotto

full english breakfast risotto

to make full english breakfast risotto you will need:

  • 400g arborio rice
  • 3 chicken stock cubes (dissolved in 1 litre of boiling water)
  • 4 low fat sausages, cooked and sliced (see top tips below)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 bacon medallions, cooked and chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 slices of Morrison’s black pudding (9 syns)
  • 2 big handfuls of mushrooms
  • 150g cherry tomatoes

top tips to make full english breakfast risotto:

  • we used the sausages and bacon from Musclefood which are both syn free! If you want to check out our special deals just click here! Of course, you can use other sausages – just remember to syn them
  • we used Morrison’s black pudding which is 4½ syns a slice – they vary a lot across brands though so do check yours
  • you can cook the bacon and sausages however you like them – we used our Optigrill but you could use an airfryer, a frying pan, a George Foreman grill or a normal grill – however you want! For best results cook the sausages halfway (they’ll cook fully later)
  • don’t like black pudding or mushrooms? Just leave them out! You can add or remove whatever you like – make it however you like it!
  • an oil sprayer will make this so much easier and won’t strip your pans like Fry Light does – we use this one and it’s excellent!
  • if you want fancy fried egg like us *cough* you can get your mitts on some fancy food rings at Amazon

to make full english breakfast risotto you should:

  • preheat the oven to 190ºc
  • lay the cherry tomatoes out onto a baking tray and spray with a little oil
  • cook in the oven for about 20-25 minutes
  • heat a large pan over a medium-high heat and spray in a little oil
  • add the onions and mushrooms to the pan and fry until the onions start to turn golden
  • add the rice to the pan along with the sausages and bacon and give another stir
  • pour the stock into the pan, cover and simmer on a low heat for 20-25 minutes
  • meanwhile, spray a frying pan with a little oil and fry the black pudding for 3-4 minutes each side, and set aside
  • in the same pan, add a little more oil and fry the eggs to your liking
  • once the risotto is cooked serve into bowls
  • top with the tomatoes, halved black pudding and fried egg

Craving more ooey, gooey risottos? We’ve got loads!

Yum!

J

char sui pork – served on steamed pak choi

Well, hello there! Here for our char sui pork? It’s understandable, you love a bit of meat. This is our final ‘Chinese’ style meal for a while, you’ll either be pleased or disappointed to hear! What could our next theme be…anyway, it’s not James writing tonight, but rather Paul. You can tell because my swearing is more gentle and there’s about 60% less knob jokes.

After James’ posts yesterday on why I’m so damn perfect I thought it’s only fair that I do one the other way round. So here goes: three things which make James pretty damn spesh.

He’s like a hairy water bottle

Now you might think that that sounds gross, but hear me out here.

As we are slightly less rotund than before we keep finding ourselves at full nipple-on quite often and it’s so handy having a heat source to hand. There’s nowt better when you’ve just come in from taking the bins out to smushing your face right into a hot pillow made out of fat – it’s truly wonderful. And not only that but he sometimes lifts up his belly so I can put my feet underneath, so it’s like getting your feet massaged whilst in a hot bath. It’s great! One of my most favourite things in the world (and he’ll hate me for saying this) is when I get up for a piss in the middle of the night and get back into bed to warm up. I’ll press right up against him and I feel like a panini.

Surprises

I’ll try not to get too mushy here because I know you miserable buggers hate all of that, but he’s always been one for giving me surprises, and not just of the venereal disease kind – the couple that leaks together stays together. Sometimes they’re small, like an unexpected Creme Egg and sometimes they’re fookin’ massive, like that time he surprised me with a trip to New York. I quite often come home to find a new desk gadget, or a cake, or something that he found in a shop somewhere that he thought I would like.

Encouragement

I have absolutely zero willpower. Quite literally none at all. If I were still single I’d have had a heart attack about ten years ago because I just can’t stop myself. Fortunately I’ve got Muffin who’ll not only dissuade me from eating shit or doing daft stuff, but do it kindly as well. It’s like having to distract a tantruming toddler – he does it tactfully and patiently! But it’s not just with food, it’s with other stuff too – we often come up for ideas for the blog together but I either lose patience or get distracted, but he’s always there to keep me on track and focussed. It’s helped me change and also to work hard to get a better job. Honestly, without him I’d be too scatty to actually ever get anything done.

Right, that’s enough of that bollocks, eh? Onto what you really came here for – char sui pork! This’ll make one big, long Linford-style tenderloin, enough for four servings and then spin the leftovers into our mixed chow mein. I mean honestly.

char sui pork

to make char sui pork you will need:

  • 500g pork tenderloin
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 60ml soy sauce
  • 60ml cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar with stevia (6 syns)
  • 1 tbsp hoi sin sauce (1½ syns)
  • 2 tbsp honey (5 syns)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • pak choi

top tips for making char sui pork:

  • don’t be tempted to skimp on the syns for this one – they’re worth every single one! remember that syns are there to be used!
  • sort that ginger in seconds with one of these Microplane graters! It’s our most used kitchen gadget!
  • this is fantastic in our tasty mixed chow mein!

to make char sui pork you should:

  • slap the pork out onto a chopping board and make a few diagnonal slashes across the length of it – not too deep, mind
  • mix everything else together and pour into a shallow dish
  • plop the pork in, turn it over a few times in the marinade and leave it for as long as possible – overnight ie best
  • preheat the oven to 200°c
  • put a rack over a roasting tin, and fill the tin halfway with water (make sure it doesn’t touch the top of the rack)
  • put the pork on the rack and roast in the oven for twenty minutes
  • turn the pork over, brush with the remaining marinade and reduce the temperature to 180°c
  • roast for another twenty minutes
  • remove from the oven and slice into discs
  • serve with whatever you like – we steamed some pakchoi leaves and served it on there, but would recommend some rice or noodles to go with!

Belly still rumbling? Don’t worry – we’ll look after you. Here’s some more fakeaway goodness:

P

pork and ginger stir fry: syn-free, quick and tasty!

Here for the pork and ginger stir fry, syn-free and wonderful as it is? Please hold.

Before we begin, I need to confess that I feel terrible: we received a ‘please order milk from your independent milkman’ letter through the door the other day. As it happens, I’m all for supporting local industry and would happily take advantage but he delivers after we go to work and I don’t want the milk sitting outside on the step all day. It’s not that I’m concerned that young hoodlums will steal it, oh no, quite the opposite – we live on a street with a lot of elderly folk, and I can see them now eyeing up an opportunity for some free calcium for their brittle bones. All we would see on our CCTV is the top of a gently-bobbing mass of grey hair shuffling along the bottom of our screen and then the milk disappearing. Tsh. Anyway, I was just settling down with a giant cup of coffee when the door went – I answered, already in my dressing gown, and there’s the milkman, asking if we had received his letter and would we like to order anything. Well, I was flustered, not least because frankly I’d have cheerfully invited him in for a half-pint of his full-fat milk, and couldn’t think of a way to phrase it so that I didn’t sound snotty or dismissive of his plea. I said the only thing I could think of: that I was gluten intolerant.

He corrected me to lactose-intolerant, looked at my giant cup of coffee, spotted the milk on the side in the kitchen, and had the good grace not to call me out on my obvious duplicity as he left. I tried to call after him that I would considering ordering fresh orange juice or some eggs but my words must have been carried away on the wind.

Anyway, enough about my poor milkman. Today is a day of love, you know. Whether you’re coupled up or single, take a moment to appreciate the good things in life. That might take the form of telling your partner you love them, or a good friend that you’ll always be there. Or, have a wank. Whatever works for you. I’m always teasing poor Paul via the medium of this blog but he’s alright really, so I thought it would be a good time to write three lovely things he does that just cements why we’re so good together.

When I’m angry, he’s angry

An important one, this. Even if he might not fully believe it what I’m raging against, he so very rarely tells me to calm down. I feel like the whole world is out to antagonise me most mornings and I can be out of bed for only five minutes before the cat has got in my way, Facebook has pissed me off and the sight of Piers Morgan on the television has sent me into a white-hot apoplexy. Paul is always there agreeing and eee-I-knowing and giving me ‘quite right’ looks and for that I’m thankful. It’s good to have someone to be cantankerous with and I think it’s a sign of true love that we can both sit and moan and bitch at each other and be bitter together.

He squeezes my feet

My feet hurt all the time now that we’re forever at the gym or walking or swimming or stamping out oil fires or booting the cat up her arse for getting in the way. Nothing too painful, just a dull ache that when pressed feels amazing. And, sure as eggs are eggs, each night when we’re cabbaged on the sofa watching TV he will pull my foot up onto his lap and squeeze the living daylights out of them. It feels amazing: you’re talking to someone who used to lift up our Caesar-sized mattress, contort his leg underneath and then lie on top of it to really squeeze the bones. Paul has actually stopped me from buying a vice to clamp my foot with. But what makes this extra special, indeed, takes it to a whole new level is this: he never complaint that my feet smell like a tramp has wiped his arse with a wheel of cupboard-warm Camembert, or that you could file the Forth Bridge with the skin on my heels. Listen, I walk eight miles a day now, I’m allowed hobbit feet, and anyway, it’s not like I can see them, what with my jiggling gunt in the way.

The morning routine

This is the big one. Paul loves to sleep: you could set his irises on fire and he’d still be there snoring and sleep-farting away. I’ve known him go to bed at 10pm and get up again at 7pm for his first piss, then go back to bed. However, every weekday morning he sets the alarm for ten minutes before I get up, makes sure the heating is on, goes and puts the coffee on, makes our porridge and, you’ll like this, turns the shower on for me so the bathroom is hot and steamy and the water boiling for when I emerge naked from under the duvet, farting and grunting away. Every morning, without fail. That’s pretty amazing, no? And you know why he does all of this?

Because he’ll get a damned good hiding if he doesn’t. Poor bastard has kidneys like dropped black pudding at this point.

I’m jesting.

I asked Paul what three things I do which make him happy and his reply was ‘going to work, going to sleep and being quiet’. Ho-hum. He will answer properly tomorrow. Or so help him.

Anyway, to celebrate over ten years of being together, look what popped up in our newsfeed throwback today!

Ten years and then some ago! Look at the clip of us: we look like football thugs who will kick your head in, sell you some wobbly eggs and suck you to a full and fruitful completion. In the interest of balance, here’s us now:

Looking good, right?

Shall we do the recipe? This makes enough for four people or two big portions for two big folks!

pork and ginger stir fry

pork and ginger stir fry

to make pork and ginger stir fry you will need:

  • 2 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 450g pork medallions, sliced
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 100g mangetout, sliced in half
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp rice wine

top tops for pork and ginger stir fry:

  • we used the fantastic medallions in Muscle Food’s Build Your Own Hamper deal! Find out more here!
  • feel free to use pork chops instead of medallions – just cut off the fat.
  • stop using Fry Light! It ruins your pans and tastes rank. Get one of these instead!
  • don’t have rice wine? cider vinegar will do!
  • the extra dark soy sauce is worth it – but you can swap it for normal soy sauce if you can’t be arsed to go out and get it, but you’ll lose a bit of flavour
  • sort the ginger out in seconds with a Microplane grater! It’s our most used kitchen gadget!

to make pork and ginger stir fry you should:

  • dead easy this one – spray a large frying pan with a little oil and put over a medium-high heat
  • add the ginger and stir around the pan for about 20 seconds, then add the pork, soy sauces and mangetout
  • cook for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally
  • stir in the sesame oil, spring onions and rice wine and simmer for another 3-4 minutes
  • serve

Getting excited for Chinese New Year? We’ve got a tonne of recipes you could make to celebrate!

Yum!

J

chinese cherry coke chicken thighs – perfect for taster night

Cherry coke chicken thighs await you in a moment – and good news, this is just a quick post, but first…

cherry coke chicken

Aaargh! I don’t know why I inflict facebook groups on myself, you know. With pancake day approaching, the pages are awash with people suggesting they can make “delicious syn-free pancakes” from blending oats, frying them in frylight and mixing with yoghurt and sweetener. Why? yeah, you might save a few syns, but what price dignity? What price the crap that you’re putting into your body in the name of trying to get a syn-free dinner? I know it’s personal choice and that’s all well and good but I bet there’s the same amount of calories, or close, in the amount of oats you’ll use, plus oil, plus sweetener, then there is in a couple of proper pancakes. And even then, why not enjoy your food? You’ve got one body and you’re here only once – why not enjoy your food? Have good food and eat a bit less and I guarantee you’ll enjoy it all the more. 15 syns to spend on making the stuff you’re eating enjoyable, tasty and memorable.

Ah I dunno. I can’t get my head around the mentality of thinking spending syns on your dinner is a bad thing but sitting cramming a chocolate bar into your mouth “because you can” is the way forward? Frankenfood and nonsense is totally against Slimming World anyway, and let’s be fair, I’m hardly their most ‘anal’ fnar fnar follower. You need this to be a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. When people lose all the weight will they be eating oat pancakes and “sausage rolls” made from wrapping a manky sausage in a wrap? No. Then what happens to that weight loss? But hey, what do I know? Follow SW’s rules, they know what they’re doing. Mostly.

Let’s do some cherry cola chinese chicken! The cherry cola adds a nice glaze and using chicken thighs keeps the meal cheap and easy. Let’s be honest: if there’s one thing you love, it’s some cheap and easy thighs. Right?

cherry coke chicken

to make chinese diet coke chicken you will need:

  • 8 skinless and boneless chicken thighs
  • 150ml diet cherry coke
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes

top tips for chinese diet cherry coke

to make chinese diet cherry coke chicken you should:

  • in a jug mix together the coke, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and chilli flakes
  • plop the chicken thighs into a bowl and pour over the marinade, turn the thighs over to make sure they get a good coating
  • leave in the fridge for about an hour, then remove from the marinade and pop onto a paper towl
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and spray in some oil
  • add the chicken thighs and cook until browned, then turn
  • pour over the remaining marinade, bring to a simmer and cover with a lid
  • cook for five minutes, then remove the lid and cook for another five or until the marinade is nicely thickened
  • serve!

Still hungry? We’ve got plenty more chinese fakeaway recipes for you!

Yum!

J

rainbow beef: speedy and saucy

Saucy rainbow beef is today’s Chinese fakeaway recipe, and you’ll find it just below. Enjoy!

Thinking about my nephew’s birthday, and then having to choose from an absolutely bewildering amount of toys available in the shops, got me thinking about the toys I used to have. Now naturally, only my generation’s toys were any good and yours were rubbish, but bear with me.

Favourite toy of all time was a tatty teddy bear that was both a bumblebee and a lion. Of course: hence Bumblelion. Internet research suggests that Bumblelion was from a TV show called The Wuzzles but that means absolutely nothing to me – I think Bumblelion’s origin story was simply being stuck on a table at the Corbridge Boot Sale and being spotted by me and my sticky three year old hands. That teddy bear stayed with me for ages – losing its tail, fur, an eye, the nose, the stuffing over the years, but even now I’m fairly sure I could climb into our loft and find him again. My parents never bothered stitching the bits back on – they took a rather cavalier approach to safety: whilst everyone else went sledging on a proper wooden sledge for example, I was given a rinsed out giant plastic bag with ICI Chemicals printed on the side and sent hurtling towards a barbed wire fence at great speed.

I asked Paul what his favourite teddy bear was and he replied that I was. Once I’d finished vomiting into the toilet, he offered up an alternative. Apparently his parents went to the same ‘caring’ school as mine as he had an unfinished toy mouse without a tail, which by all accounts looked like a rudimentary fleshlight, given it had a huge hole with the stuffing leaking out at the rear end. Knowing Paul, that’s probably exactly what it was used for. He called it Mousey, showing an imagination that captivates an audience even now. I know for a fact where Mousey lives: somewhere in a landfill near Byker, as I accidentally threw him out in an overly-keen cleaning spree. Oops. Mousey was supplemented by all manner of tamagotchis that Paul was given to keep him quiet – I never had one and was furiously jealous of everyone else who had one. It’s probably for the best however – I was given my friend’s tamagotchi to look after and killed it for real within two hours by dropping it into the toilet.

We ended up choosing Lego for my nephew – partly because it’s the best gift you can give a young lad because it fires the imagination, partly because I know how much it will annoy my sister who now faces an eternity of stepping on Lego bricks in the dead of night. She can talk, she never used to clean away the Lego when we played at home. We used to build massive hamster runs and mazes out of Lego – it’s all good times until you forget about poor Snuffles working his way through the maze towards a carrot and go away on holiday. Poor little bugger*. I think all children should be given Lego at the earliest opportunity – not Duplo, that’s cheating, and not knock-off Lego that doesn’t quite fit together, but proper stuff. If I’m ever asked to step in and replace Theresa May on account that I have a soul and can smile without looking like I’m passing wind, I’ll make it mandatory that children are born into buckets of Lego that they then get to keep.

It wasn’t just Lego, of course – we had all manner of board games, all with nearly all the pieces included. It’s easy enough to play Pop-Up-Pirate without all of the swords but Buckaroo becomes a surprising challenge when you only have half of the donkey, and as for trying to solve a murder in Cluedo with only the Miss White card and 100 Lambert and Butler gratis points, well forget it. Paul’s favourite board-game was Screwball Scramble but because his mother was a shaved Hitler, he was only allowed to play it up to the bit where you had to smack the buttons and then stop, because the noise would ‘bring on one of her heads’. Even then he knew that her headaches were probably nicotine-poisoning. We want to join a local board game society up here in Newcastle but it all seems to be complicated games now – I want to play Monopoly with someone who doesn’t get in a huff when I buy Mayfair and then refuses to play when he starts losing: like Paul.

 

I’m obviously kidding about the hamster, by the way. All of our hamsters had luxurious, full lives, although we did lose one prematurely when it took an exciting and unexpected swerve on the hallway landing and went bouncing down the stairs in his little exercise ball. RIP Snowy.

Final highlight was a sit-on toy tractor that I could peddle around in the yard behind our house. I bloody loved that thing and used it until the brakes were worn, the wheels were shot and the whole thing was one more half-stone of my arse from falling to bits. It did almost kill me – I once went merrily shooting down our steep driveway and across two lanes of traffic before my mother remembered that she hadn’t shut the gate at the bottom. It’s alright, I survived (obviously) and there were only forty people injured in the resulting pile-up caused by the bus having to swerve around me into oncoming traffic.

The picture on this one doesn’t look amazing, but blame Paul: he forgot to take the pictures, so this is just a still from the video. Don’t worry, he’ll be getting a firm lashing later on.

UPDATE: Sorry – this isn’t syn free as it says in the photo, that’s a typo. It’s actually 1½ syns each! 

rainbow beef

rainbow beef

to make saucy rainbow beef you will need:

  • 500g beef stir-fry strips (or steak, sliced)
  • 1½ tsp cornflour (½ syn)
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (2½ syns)
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce (3 syns)
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • ½ tsp red chilli flakes
  • 8 shittake mushrooms
  • 3 peppers of different colours, sliced

top tips for saucy rainbow beef:

  • we used the beef strips from our excellent Big Meaty Package – if you want decent quality, cheap meat go check out our deals page!
  • mince the garlic and ginger in double-quick time with a Microplane grater – you can get one here!
  • shiitake mushrooms will give a nice, beefy taste but normal mushrooms will do fine
  • haven’t got rice wine vinegar? cider vinegar will be fine
  • this makes enough for two large bowls

to make saucy rainbow beef you should:

  • sprinkle the cornflour over the beef and give a good toss
  • pour over the tsp of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, one of the garlic cloves, sesame oil, salt and pepper and mix everything together
  • in a separate jug, stir the tbsp of rice wine vinegar and hoisin sauce and set aside
  • heat a large frying pan or wok over a high heat and spray in a little oil
  • add the beef to the pan and spread out as much as you can
  • let it cook for about a minute to crisp up, and then stir fry for another minute
  • slide the beef onto a plate and drain away any excess liquid
  • add the peppers to the pan along with the other garlic clove, ginger, chilli flakes and mushrooms and stir-fry for about 2 minutes
  • add the beef back to the pan and give another stir
  • pour over the hoisin sauce, cook for another 30 seconds, then serve

Did that get your minge tingling? Don’t forget we’ve got loooaddss of other Chinese fakeaway meals waiting for you! You’ll find some of our favourites below:

Mwah!

J

beef chop suey: saucy and syn-free

Right, let’s fire out a recipe for beef chop suey with no chitchat, as we’re all busy people. Take Me Out isn’t going to watch itself, you know.

Now come on, as if we’d watch Take Me Out. If I wanted to listen to thirty lasses screaming at an orange man, I’d go to a Trump protest. THERE. THERE’S SOME BITING POLITICAL ANALYSIS. I’m kidding, it’s my nephew’s birthday so we’re actually off to hand over gifts and cards in exchange for love and kindness. But we couldn’t leave you without something to smack your lips over, so here we are! Saucy beef chop suey.

beef chop suey

beef chop suey

to make saucy beef chop suey you will need:

  • 220g beef stir fry strips, sliced (or steak, sliced)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 8 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 60g mangetout, sliced
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 300g dried noodles

top tips for making saucy beef chop suey:

to make saucy beef chop suey you should:

  • cook the noodles according to the instructions
  • heat a large saucepan over a high heat and spray ina . little oil
  • add the garlic and onions and stir around the pan for about a minute, then add the beef
  • cook for a few minutes and then add the carrots, red pepper and mushrooms and cook for another five minutes
  • add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, mangetout and spring onions to the pan and give a good stir
  • cook for another 1-2 minutes until slightly thickened
  • serve over the noodles

Feeling saucier? Check out some of our other recipes!

stir fry cucumber and pork – trust me, it’s a winner!

Stir fry cucumber and pork? You are either doing one of two things:

  • experiencing confusing feelings in your nethers – you’re scared, but you want to try it; or
  • you’re quietly gipping into your sleeve.

But trust me, it’s delicious! Paul, who doesn’t like cucumber whether it’s sliced, diced or hidden somewhere it’s not nice to talk about, declared the dish one of the best he’s ever had – and it’s so cheap too.

Anyway: good news everyone: I’m feeling better. Not 100%, I still feel like someone has backed a transit van over my head and everything capable of producing liquid is working over-time, but at least I’m not dying. See? Always a positive. But I need to stay rested, so let’s go straight to the recipe!

Oh, this makes enough for four nice bowls of stir fry cucumber and pork.

stir fry cucumber and pork

stir fry cucumber and pork

to make stir fry cucumber and pork, you’ll need:

  • two big cucumbers (or buy three, you’ll have something to play with whilst the cucumber soaks)
  • salt (smoked salt is nice, but any salt will do)
  • 500g of low-fat pork mince (you can use turkey mince too)
  • 3 teaspoon of light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of rice wine (about 0.00000001 of a syn, so fuck it)
  • 2 teaspoon of oil (4 syns) (I used sesame, it’s easier)
  • 1 teaspoon of fish sauce (you can buy it from most supermarkets, it’s syn free and doesn’t taste fishy)
  • 1 teaspoon of cornflour (quarter of a syn, see above)
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • two garlic cloves, minced
  • rice to serve

top tips stir fry cucumber and pork

  • absolute full credit goes to seriouseats.com for this one – we found it a while ago and thought it would be a load of bollocks, but we’re so glad we tried it – fair play!
  • quickly mince the garlic with a Microplane grater – you’ll wonder how you ever got on without one – or you can buy ready minced garlic in most supermarkets if you’re lazy
  • if you’re using turkey mince, I’d suggest adding another tablespoon of oil (6 syns) because turkey can be quite dry, like me
  • our chopsticks are available here!

to make stir fry cucumber and pork, you should:

  • two bits of prep first:
    • marinate your pork by mixing it with two teaspoons of soy sauce, the rice wine, one teaspoon of oil, the fish sauce and half a teaspoon of cornflour – really give it a good mix, and then set aside – the longer you leave it the better it will be
    • peel slices from your skin of your two cucumbers so you’re left with alternating stripes around the outside, cut in half along the horizontal, so you’re left with two long halves, cut each half into chunks and then put in a bowl, scatter a good couple of pinches of salt on top, shake and leave them to sit for an hour or so
  • once you’re ready to cook, in a small bowl mix two teaspoons of water, the other half teaspoon of cornflour, a teaspoon of sesame oil and a teaspoon of soy sauce – mix and set aside
  • wash your cucumber chunks through a sieve to get the salt off them, and then pat
  • heat up a frying pan with a few sprays of oil, get it nice and hot, then place the pork in almost like a big burger – allow to cook for thirty seconds or so exactly like that, then start breaking it up with a spatula, add the chilli flakes and garlic and cook until everything is golden brown
  • now add the cucumber chunks and cook high and quick – mix your sauce again and pour it in – there’s not a lot, but the idea is to make it a bit glossy – remember, cook quick and hot
  • serve with rice!

Guys, do you trust us at this point? Do we ever really post a duff recipe? No. This isn’t one of them, either. The cucumbers keep a bit of crunch but go more meaty than you would imagine. It tastes lovely and fresh and is a good, cheap alternative to a fakeaway. Give it a go!

Want more fakeaway ideas? We can help:

Goodness me!

J